Name: Ilea Osborne
Location: Marshall, TX
Bio: Ilea is a 36 year old U.S. Army veteran, mother, wife, and artist. After her time spent in the army, she began her journey of what she wanted to do as a career. Soon after, Ilea went to school and worked as a drafter at a engineering firm. However, Ilea always had a love for creating, a love she shared with her father. To make extra cash, she would take odd jobs that required her to use her talent (drawing). Then she questioned, "What if I drew and painted full-time?" As such, Ilea has been painted professionally for four years since. Her art is her world. Ilea enjoys incorporating pink, glitter, snacks, and anything girly into all of her pieces.
Describe your experience as a current artist
Currently, I am a full time artist & loving it! Iʼve been pursuing art going on 4 years. I feel my purpose as an artist is to give the world one more perspective of the black woman.
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
I was a civil engineer drafting technician before I turned to be a full-time artist. Why did I leave that career and pursue being a full time artist.....right? The company I was at built the Dallas Cowboy Stadium, so it was a pretty big deal being a mom. I was the only black woman there and experienced racism like no other that sent me into a depression. I grew sick of it, quit my job, prayed, and got a job that day doing murals in the DFW Texas Metroplex. She taught me and I took notes.
What has been your biggest challenge/obstacle in pursuing art and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was making it work. I was staying up late painting sleeping in, taking care of the kids, etc. and I sat back wondering why I was behind with my commissions and why was it hard to keep up with the house. So I got back on the schedule I was on when I was working at the engineering firm. Up at 6AM , lunch at 12PM, stop painting by 4PM, and in bed by 9PM. Instantly, It got better.
Describe your biggest milestone or project/series achieved since pursuing your art.
My biggest milestone is my “Weedgal” series. During Artbasel 2017, I came across new knowledge of how I can expand my art. This collection brought in a group of people interested, and lots more opportunities. This was a big milestone because Iʼm usually shy and reserved. This collection was truly me being a voice,” women arenʼt always half-naked medicating. Weʼre mothers, gardeners, wearing house shoes, & doing yoga.” From this series, Iʼve learned to challenge myself to be more focused and to get truly lost in my own creativity.
How does your personal style and identity translate into your artwork?
Iʼve been described as magical, glitter, unicorn, whimsical, a dreamer, and silly lol. Iʼd have to say I am very optimistic, festive, & and super silly. I feel that when people see my work, theyʼre straight up vibing with my personality.
What is your favorite art technique and why?
My favorite art technique is something my dad taught me, called a wash. A wash is when using acrylic, youʼre using lots of water along with it. Almost like a water color. This technique allows you to work in very controlled layers. This makes it easier to achieve the look you desire, especially with “skin.”
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration?
I canʼt paint in any other mood but happiness. You see happiness in my art; youʼll get pink, light turquoise, glitter, and purples. If I paint while in a dark mood, the color collabs Iʼm known for using wouldn't exist in that painting. So painting to make a living, I have to maintain yoga, daily affirmations, exercise, & eating healthy to maintain a positivity that I depend to feed off of for my art. Sounds crazy?! lol.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals and/or business?
My advice to my fellow BGWPʼs, treat painting, like itʼs a regular job. 9-5, then you have time to cook, clean, and take care of yourself and loved ones after you get off. Having Monday morning meetings with yourself and write a list of what youʼre going to achieve that week. Itʼs a fail-proof plan.
What is next for you?
Get merchandise out to stores! I already have my art in two different stores in Miami and I plan to get a variety of merchandise out to more stores. More art shows in different states. And Iʼd love to collaborate with who ever and make magic happen.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
Being a black girl who paints is a big and special deal. My thing is inspiring others, little girls and young black women especially. I encourage them, paint with them, and motivate them. I would have loved to paint with a BGWP while growing up, someone just like me. Something I, myself, could of used a lot when I was younger. I encourage the parents of young BGWPʼs to support their little girl. And I ensure a living can be made off of art.